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Pres. Obama, Romney face challenge after VP debate

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Oct. 12, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — After Thursday's vice presidential debate, both campaigns are looking ahead to the presidential debate on Tuesday.

The bottom line from Thursday night's debate is both Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan teed-up their running mate for next Tuesday. There's more pressure than ever for Pres. Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney now: for their upcoming town hall-style debate.

Thursday's was a blustery debate, with shots from Ryan and Biden. And in the aftermath, the takeaway for many is that both running mates did what they needed to do move their campaigns forward.

"Biden punched Ryan in the mouth a few times," said Kirk Jowers with the Hinckley Institute of Politics. "Ryan, on the other hand, was very competent and very smart."

Now the focus returns to the top of the ticket. Polls suggest this and last week's debate are contributing to a horse race in many battleground states. Next week's town hall-style debate is now seen as critical for momentum — and a challenge for both Romney and Pres. Obama.

Upcoming debate schedule:
Second presidential candidates' debate between Obama, Romney
  • Topic: Foreign, domestic issues
  • Oct. 16
  • 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. MDT
  • Moderator: Candy Crowley, CNN
  • Format: Town hall style
Third presidential candidates' debate between Obama, Romney
  • Topic: Foreign policy
  • Oct. 22
  • 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. MDT
  • Moderator: Bob Schieffer, CBS News
  • Format: Traditional debate format

"We're likely to see a challenge for both of them as they try to interact with real people in this town hall debate, and I think it quite frankly presents a riskier format for both," said Quin Monson with the BYU Center for Study of Elections and Democracy.

Neither Obama nor Romney are seen as warm, in the same way Bill Clinton connected with voters. Complicating their job in winning undecideds, as there is confusion over the many statements being made, and how factual they are.

"But there hasn't been a real resolution of whose ideas are correct, and part of that is that both campaigns have assumptions underlying their ideas that may or may not be correct and have some uncertainty about them," Monson said.

Which makes interaction with the audience next week just as crucial as the facts and figures they'll be debating. Both candidates could be rehearsing how to interact with people as much as they are the facts, in order to put their best foot forward.

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Richard Piatt

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